The Lodi Library is ready to show off new features to the public when it reopens next week, marking the first time in 2½ years that the whole building will open.
A third of the building was closed in November 2011 when it was found that the roof beams were structurally unsound, forcing library materials into a cramped space that wasn’t covered by the roof.
When repairs began last year, all programs and materials temporarily were relocated to Lodi Station Outlets in Harrisville Township.
Tina Sabol, a Medina County District Library spokeswoman, said the roof beams became weak because they dried out and began to twist. To fix that problem, she said the wood was replaced with steel and encased in wood to keep the appearance similar to before.
In addition to fixing the roof beams, library officials decided to add a variety of modern features — including laptop rentals, self-checkout counters, a recording studio, an electronics table, sitting areas, a teen section, free lockers and studying rooms.
Sabol said one of the goals in adding the features was to give visitors a comfortable place to sit and do work.
“We’re sort of catering to the people who come here to work,” she said. “Sure, some will come for storytime or whatever else, but others come to work and will end up staying all day.”
To accommodate those visitors, two wood-and-glass study rooms were added.
The library had one group study room, but the two new ones are smaller in size.
Also added was the teen section, complete with a flat-screen television, gaming station and an electronic multimedia table.
Neither the electronic table nor recording studio were set up Monday, when the news media was invited for a preview of the new features at the library. But Sabol said she expects them to be available when the library opens Monday.
A recording studio also is in the teen section. The studio was approved for the Lodi Library after other libraries in Northeast Ohio installed them and received good feedback.
Overall, Sabol said the library renovations make it much more inviting.
“Things feel so much lighter. Before, everything seemed sort of claustrophobic,” she said. “Now we’ve got more breathing room.”
Lodi Library, one of six locations managed by the district library, was built in 2005 at a cost of $3 million and opened in 2006.
In response to discovering the faulty roof, the district library in July filed a lawsuit in county common pleas court. The suit, which is ongoing, named as defendants David Milling Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Cavanaugh Building Corp., of Akron; The Cincinnati Insurance Co., of Fairfield; Amish Timber Framers, of Doylestown; Koehlinger Engineering LLC, of Bolivar; and Thorson Baker & Associates Inc., of Cleveland.
The library seeks damages from all six companies, legal expenses, attorneys’ fees and a declaration that the library is entitled to insurance coverage.
The cost of the repairs — about $1.8 million paid to Prime Engineering & Architecture and Simmons Brothers Corp. to design and execute the repairs — would be covered by any money awarded if the lawsuit is successful.